According to a report released last week by the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging more than 130 million Americans do not have dental insurance and in many cases are unable to pay for the out of pocket cost of paying for a dental check-up. The subcommittee is aware that peoples’ lives are being disrupted by chronic toothaches and gum problems but are unable to find affordable dental care for themselves and their families. The goal of the subcommittee is to come up with a plan to do better and help the dental community do a better job of serving low income families.
Some interesting facts illustrating the national dental crisis:
- One quarter of all adults in the United States ages 65 and older have lost all their teeth.
- More than 47 million people live in places where it is difficult to access dental care.
- In 2009, there were more than 830,000 visits to emergency rooms across the country for preventable dental conditions, a shocking 16 percent increase since 2006.
- Inadequate or non-existent dental health maintenance has a profound impact on overall health, including an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and poor birth outcomes.
- Many Americans are forced to live with extreme pain because of dental disease.
- Dental diseases have prevented millions of Americans from getting a job.
- Medicare doesn’t cover any dental care whatsoever.
- Thousands of retiree’s are losing their dental insurance at retirement.
- One third of all Americans do not have dental coverage.
- Only 45 percent of Americans age two and older saw a dental provider in the past 12 months.